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5 Basic Don'ts of Online Roleplaying

Updated on June 25, 2017
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Gen Q is a writer and online roleplayer. She has worked on character designs (written and artistically), biographies, and development.

1. Don't make it about yourself or your character only

Now that doesn't mean to not make it about your character at all but rather, don't hog the spotlight. It doesn't matter how many people are in the roleplaying group, no one wants someone who redirects their conversations back to themselves. Everyone wants some attention and it should be given. When roleplaying, make sure to keep the interactions as equal as possible. Do your best to include other roleplayers in your conversation and actions. The story should revolve around all the roleplayers and their characters. Most of the time people doing this don’t realize they are doing it. If you completely ignore ideas that others are pitching or are attempting to force other roleplayers into roleplaying your ideas only, then you are simply making it about yourself.

Solution: When roleplaying, make sure to keep the interactions as equal as possible. Do your best to include other roleplayers in your conversation and actions. The story should revolve around all the roleplayers and their characters. Most of the time people doing this don’t realize they are doing it. If you completely ignore ideas that others are pitching or are attempting to force other roleplayers into roleplaying your ideas only, then you are simply making it about yourself.


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2. Don’t be afraid to color outside the lines

When roleplaying there is usually a plot or end goal. Don’t freak out if you aren't following the plot exactly the same way you imagined it your head. If you want to really keep it in between the lines and have the other person respond just the way you want them to, then you aren’t roleplaying, you’re writing a book. The whole point is that you are writing this ‘book’ with another person. It’s an adventure because they can take a different path than you planned or than what was planned at all. If you do have plot points you want to hit make sure you keep open communication with other roleplayers. Ask if they can find a way to accommodate some of your ideas and do the same for them! It’s not just your imagination that’s in the mix here. Usually, end goals are where the roleplay wants to reach or some large climax, as long as you make it there, yay! Remember, getting there is half the fun!

Solution: If you do have plot points you want to hit make sure you keep open communication with other roleplayers. Ask if they can find a way to accommodate some of your ideas and do the same for them! It’s not just your imagination that’s in the mix here. Usually, end goals are where the roleplay wants to get to or reach some large climax. As long as you make it there, yay! Remember, getting there is half the fun!


3. Don’t respond with one sentence

...unless that’s the type of roleplay that's going on. If you aren’t doing descriptive then that's fine. In descriptive roleplay no one wants to invest a great 7 line response for a one liner reply.

Solution: Do your best to match the length of the response. Give some insight: What is your character thinking? Why did they react the way they did? Those sorts of responses can make the roleplay more interesting, it gives your partner some more than just responding to actions. It is fun to know what other roleplayers are thinking and it gives depth to characters without needing to physically incorporate it.


4. Don’t force it

When new to the roleplaying community, or just trying to reach out more, it can be intimidating when roleplayers already seem to have their groups and cliques. But remember, this is online, there is no one to meet person to person. If they turn out to be rude just don’t role play with them anymore.

Solution: If you really want to roleplay with a certain person, connect with them instead of forcing your characters onto theirs. If they have RP starters (which are scenarios based on a certain actions etc.), try to ask for one there. Make sure to keep it neutral! No one wants a person coming to them simply to have a relationship with their character. Do your best to look for others in the same community as you so you can play along. Try and befriend the friends of your current roleplaying buddies, that can help you branch out into meeting their friends and so on.


5. Don’t jump into a community in which you are not knowledgeable in

This one happens more often than you think. Lord of the Ring Roleplayers will not be happy to have a tech savvy character coming into Middle Earth, nor would Star Trek roleplayers be happy with hobbits trying to work their ships.

Solution: While crossovers can be great, make sure everyone AGREES to do the crossover. It is probably best to set up limits or guidelines for crossovers. You don’t want to get into a roleplaying community where you don’t already know how things work or have no background on it. It makes it difficult for everyone involved if you don’t know which potions to use in a Harry Potter roleplay or how people are ‘supposed to’ or usually treat members from other houses. Remember, you are entering a new reality. Rules of sorts are established by the canon that one must follow or know to do basic roleplaying.

Which of these roleplay mistakes have you been guilty of?

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